ROAN MOUNTAIN — The Carter County Sheriff’s Department continues to clean up the largest clandestine methamphetamine laboratory ever found in the county.
Sheriff Chris Mathes said the operation found at 8377 U.S. Highway 19E has well more than 100 “shake and bake” bottles to manufacture the illegal drug.
“It is definitely the largest we have uncovered in Carter County and it could be the largest in the state. I know there was one in Sullivan County in which about 120 bottles were found. This one will exceed that.”
One person is being held in the investigation — Timothy Blackwell. Mathes said all the charges that will be placed against him had not been determined as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. He described Blackwell as a local man who is known to the sheriff’s department.
“I thought he was doing better, but then we started getting reports,” Mathes said.
The drug bust came after a two-week investigation of Blackwell’s operation.
Mathes said Blackwell was using an abandoned house for the meth lab. There was no power running to the house. He described it as a scene of horrors.
“I pulled my officers out when it got dark, it was just too dangerous. We set up a command post and security and decided to return at daylight,” Mathes said Tuesday night.
The sheriff has requested the help of a hazardous material team from Knoxville to help with the cleanup.
In addition to all the methamphetamine bottles, Mathes said his officers also found several gallons of stored urine. He said the urine was going to be recycled to reclaim the methamphetamine the users had ingested.
One sink in the old house was full of what Mathes believes to be muriatic acid.
He said the house was so contaminated that no one was allowed in without protective equipment and an air pack.
Mathes said the investigation is ongoing and his agents are attempting to find out about Blackwell’s supply network. Mathes said he was sure Blackwell was getting pseudoephedrine, a critical ingredient in the manufacturing process, from North Carolina.———
Earlier report posted at 5:16 p.m. Tuesday:
ROAN MOUNTAIN — Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said one person has been arrested in “the largest meth lab in Carter County history."
Mathes called the operation at 8377 Highway 19E a “super lab” in today’s world of “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” operations. More than 100 one-pots were found by his deputies. The sheriff said the resident, Timothy Blackwell, had been taken into custody.
Mathes said the bust came after a two-week investigation. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Hazardous Materials team had been called in to assist with the clean up.Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more on this developing story.